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On February 23, 2022, after being a customer for two years and seeing phishing attacks virtually disappear from our employee’s mailboxes, Cloudflare announced the acquisition of Area 1 Security.
Thanks to its unique technology (more on that below) Cloudflare Area 1 can proactively identify and protect against phishing campaigns before they happen, and potentially prevent the 90%+ of all cyberattacks that Deloitte research identified as starting with an email. All with little to no impact on employee productivity.
But preventing 90% of the attacks is not enough, and that’s why Cloudflare Area 1 email security is part of our Zero Trust platform. Here’s what’s new.
Email Security on your Cloudflare Dashboard
Starting today you will find a dedicated Email Security section on your Cloudflare dashboard. That’s the easiest way for any Cloudflare customer to get familiar with and start using Cloudflare Area 1 Email Security.
From there you can easily request a trial, which gives you access to the full product for 30 days.
Our team will guide you through the setup, which will take just a few minutes. That’s the beauty of not having to install and tune a Secure Email Gateway (SEG). You can simply configure Area 1 inline or connect through the API, journaling, or other connectors - none of these options disrupt mail flow or the end user experience. And you don’t need any new hardware, appliances or agents.
Once the trial starts, you’ll be able to review detection metrics and forensics in real time, and will receive real-time updates from the Area 1 team on incidents that require immediate attention.
At the end of the trial you will also have a Phishing Risk Assessment where our team will walk you through the impact of the mitigated attacks and answer your questions.
Another option you’ll see on the Email Security section of the Cloudflare Dashboard is to explore the Area 1 demo.
At the click of a button you’ll enter the Area 1 portal of a fictitious company where you can see the product in action. You can interact with the full product, including our advanced message classifiers, the BEC protections, real time view of spoofed domains, and our unique message search and trace capabilities.
Being cloud-native has allowed us to develop some unique capabilities. Most notably, we scan the Internet for attacker infrastructure, sources and delivery mechanisms to stop phishing attacks days before they hit an inbox. These are state of the art machine-learning models using the threat intelligence data that Area 1 has accumulated since it was founded nine years ago, and now they also incorporate data from the 124 billion cyber threats that Cloudflare blocks each day and its 1.7 trillion daily DNS queries.
Since the product is cloud-based and no local appliances are involved, these unique datasets and models benefit every customer immediately and apply to the full range of email attack types (URLs, payloads, BEC), vectors (email, web, network), and attack channels (external, internal, trusted partners). Additionally, the threat datasets, observables and Indicators of Compromise (IOC) are now additional signals to Cloudflare Gateway (part of Zero Trust), extending protection beyond email and giving Cloudflare customers the industry's utmost protection against converged or blended threats.
The expertise Area 1 gained through this relentless focus on Threat Research and Threat Operations (i.e., disrupting actors once identified) is also leading to a new large scale initiative to make every Cloudflare customer, and the broader Internet, safer - Cloudforce One.
The Cloudforce One team is composed of analysts assigned to five subteams: Malware Analysis, Threat Analysis, Active Mitigation and Countermeasures, Intelligence Analysis, and Intelligence Sharing. Collectively, they have tracked many of the most sophisticated cyber criminals on the Internet while at the National Security Agency (NSA), USCYBERCOM, and Area 1 Security, and have worked closely with similar organizations and governments to disrupt these threat actors. They’ve also been prolific in publishing “finished intel” reports on security topics of significant geopolitical importance, such as targeted attacks against governments, technology companies, the energy sector, and law firms, and have regularly briefed top organizations around the world on their efforts.
The team will help protect all Cloudflare customers by working closely with our existing product, engineering, and security teams to improve our products based on tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) observed in the wild. Customers will get better protection without having to take any action.
Additionally, customers can purchase a subscription to Cloudforce One (now generally available), and get access to threat data and briefings, dedicated security tools, and the ability to make requests for information (RFIs) to the team’s threat operations staff. RFIs can be on any security topic of interest, and will be analyzed and responded to in a timely manner. For example, the Cloudforce One Malware Analysis team can accept uploads of possible malware and provide a technical analysis of the submitted resource.
Lastly, SPF/DKIM/DMARC policies are another tool that can be used to prevent Email Spoofing and have always been a critical part of Area 1's threat models. Cloudflare Area 1 customers receive weekly DMARC sender reports to understand the efficacy of their configuration, but customers have also asked for help in setting up SPF/DKIM/DMARC records for their own domains.
It was only logical to make Cloudflare’s Email Security DNS Wizard part of our Email Security stack to guide customers through their initial SPF, DKIM and DMARC configuration. The wizard is now available to all customers using Cloudflare DNS, and will soon be available to Cloudflare Area 1 customers using a third party DNS. Getting SPF/DKIM/DMARC right can be complex, but it is a necessary and vital part of making the Internet safer, and this solution will help you build a solid foundation.
You’ll be hearing from us very soon regarding more expansions to the Area 1 feature set. In the meantime, if you want to experience Area 1 first-hand sign up for a Phishing Risk Assessment here or explore the interactive demo through the Email section of your Cloudflare Dashboard.